The documentary Bronx Princess is all about culture clash. Rocky is a literal princess; her father is a chief in Ghana. We watch her take two journeys: her first trip to Africa, and Freshman year at couldn't-be-farther-from-the-Bronx college.

The film, which aired on PBS last night, stars Rocky Otoo, 17, who lives in the Bronx with her mother. Her mom works in a beauty supply store and is known as Auntie Yaa. Although Rocky's a stellar student who edited her school's newspaper, starred in its musical, played basketball and has a full college scholarship, her mother thinks she's insolent and insufficiently respectful. Rocky thinks her mother is old-world and doesn't understand her.


Her father, meanwhile, has returned to Ghana to take over the chiefdom of his community. Rocky looks forward to staying with him, because she feels her father understands her better.
However, she soon clashes with her father, too, and feels out of place. It takes her a while to begin to feel at home; when she does, she begins to understand her mother a little more.


Once home, Rocky starts at a picture-perfect college that's as white as they come. (Dickinson.) She's the first person in her family to go to college, and her parting with her mom is emotional. The culture clash between her mother and the well-intentioned college orientation woman is kind of painful.

And yes, Rocky's roommate is fascinated by her hair. Which she touches.


By the time Rocky comes home for vacation, she and her mother seem to have come to an understanding. In the two years since the film was made, Rocky has apparently thrived: she's become a women's and gender studies major, is an officer of the African American Society, on the step team, and a regular contributor to a campus feminist magazine. In other words: the kids are alright. The entire film, by the way, is now online.

Related: Bronx Princess [PBS]
Full Description [PBS]
Film Update [PBS]